The sugar is now ubiquitous in a large proportion of industrial products.
Unfortunately, obscurity is still maintained very strongly around the real world health effects of sugar, and it becomes very difficult for an average person to know if the sugar is good or bad, and at what dose …
In this comprehensive guide to sugar-free diet, I will first explain to you what sugar is, its impact on your body if consumed in excessive amounts, as well as natural substitutions in your daily diet.
What is a Sugar Free Diet?
Before we can explain what a sugar-free diet is, it is important to first define what sugar is.
Sugar, often known as white powder or a square of sugar, is the common term for sucrose.
Sucrose is the combination of a glucose molecule and a fructose molecule.
This molecule is found in certain amounts in fruits, vegetables, honey or other plants.
But it is in sugar beet and cane that sugar is extracted in large quantities for commercial and industrial use.
The sugar-free diet, so this is not a diet where we remove all fruits and vegetables.
It is a diet aimed at suppressing (or at least severely restricting) industrial products that supply refined sugars (sugar beet extract or sugar cane) in the preparation, and often in excess.
The effects of sugar on your health
In recent years you have heard the slogan: "For your health, avoid eating too much fat, too sweet, too salty" on TV or radio.
To be more precise, the World Health Organization recommends consumption a maximum of 25 grams of sugar per day1)Sugar intake for adults and children., equals 6 teaspoons.
These 25 grams include free sugar added by manufacturers of beverages or foods, as well as sugars naturally present in fruit juices, syrups or honey.
These 25 grams of sugar represent 100 kg, or 5% of the recommended daily allowance for a woman, and less than 5% for a man.
Beyond this figure, the negative effects on your health will begin to appear, with consequences proportional (see exponential …) to the amount of sugar assimilated:
Sugary drinks such as soda, fruit juice, tea or flavored water (with added sugar) are generally very high in sugar.
Here are some simple numbers to give you an idea:
- A 33cl box of classic cola-type soda provides 33 grams of sugar.
- A 200 ml glass of fruit juice contains between 10 and 15 grams of sugar.
- A 200 ml glass of industrial iced tea provides about 20 grams of sugar.
If your main source of hydration is orange juice or soda, chances are you will explode the recommended limit of 25 grams of sugar per day.
In a study conducted on expedited adolescents who consumed mainly prepared industrial products (beverages and food), their daily sugar consumption averaged 230 grams, almost 10 times the recommended limit.
For high consumption of sugary drinks:
- Increases your daily caloric intake significantlybecause they do not satisfy your hunger.
On the contrary, it seems from studies that a large consumption of sugar increases your hunger2)The effect of sugar consumption on hunger., and leads to leptin resistance3)Food components and development of leptin resistance., a hormone that helps manage satiety.
- Gives you a large amount of immediately available glucose.
Sugary drinks like soft drinks actually have an extremely high glycemic index.
Your blood sugar levels, therefore, increase very rapidly after consuming these drinks.
If you are physically active, this sugar can be used as the main fuel.
Otherwise, a large part of it will usually be stored as fat for future use …
Today, industrial drinks and meals are undoubtedly one of the most important contributors (along with the lack of physical activity) to the increase in obesity figures worldwide.4)Relationship between Soda consumption and overweight in 75 countries.5)Consumption of sugary drinks and weight gain.
Excessive sugar consumption promotes the development of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the world6)Estimated number of deaths from cardiovascular disease..
A scientific study conducted on 30,000 people has shown that individuals who provide 17% to 21% of calories via added sugar are 38% more likely to die of heart disease than individuals who provide 8% of calories. via added sugars7)Consumption of added sugar and mortality of cardiovascular disease in American adults. (I recall that the recommendation is a maximum of 5%).
Don't forget that two cans of Soda a day already give you 66g of added sugar, or 13% of your calorie intake for a 2000kcal diet.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that affects more and more people around the world. According to WHO, the number of diabetics has simply quadrupled in the last 35 years8)Diabetes according to the World Health Organization., and the curve is not about to turn …
High sugar consumption is one of the most important risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes9)Risk factors that contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes..
Read: The Best Foods for Type 2 Diabetics.
Eating sugary products regularly also leads to resistance to insulin, the hormone that regulates (among other things) blood sugar levels.
As we see earlier, eating too much sugar usually leads to weight gain and long-term risk of being overweight.
Being overweight is one of the most risk factors for developing cancer10)Overweight as a major risk of cancer..
In addition, sugar promotes the development of inflammation in your body, as well as insulin resistance11)Links between insulin resistance, diabetes and cancer..
Cancer cells mainly live from inflammation to develop.
Scientific research of more than 430,000 people has shown the association between excessive sugar consumption and the risk of developing esophageal cancer and small intestine.12)Consumption of sugar in food and risk of cancer..
Eating a food or drinking high in sugar gives you a large amount of energy very quickly, leading to a sudden rise in blood sugar (1).
This period of hyperglycemia is always followed by significant insulin secretion (2), leading to hypoglycemia, called reaction hypoglycemia (3)1. 3)The effect of a high-sugar and low-fiber meal versus a low-sugar and high-fiber meal..
Return of normal blood sugar occurs within 2 hours after sugar intake, and the hypoglycemia phase (causing severe fatigue) lasts 30 to 60 minutes:
A series of spikes in blood sugar and hypoglycemia respond to your energy level.
It is not uncommon to see children being exaggerated after consuming a large amount of soft drinks (hyperglycemia), to see them completely drained of energy 1 or 2 hours later (hypoglycemia).
To avoid these repeated blood sugar spikes and energy drops during the day, choose foods rich in fiber that will provide better regulation of your blood sugar.
Also remember to include carbohydrates, quality proteins and good fats in every meal, even snacks.
The new trend for manufacturers is to add fructose to their product, often saying that it is the sugar that is in the fruit.
Most people immediately think of the benefits of fruit, and minimize the effect of consuming these types of products on health.
The problem is that these products are:
- They usually contain a very high dose of fructose. Sometimes it equals 7 to 8 fruits.
- They are deprived of fibers, vitamins and minerals that are naturally present in the fruits and allow particular control of glycemia.
The specialty of fructose, unlike glucose, for example, is that it can only be metabolized in the liver.
When it arrives in the liver, it will convert fructose into glycogen so that it can be stored as energy.
However, the liver is only capable of storing a certain amount of glycogen. The surplus will be converted into fat that will coat the liver.
An excessive presence of fat in the liver can lead to alcohol-free fat disease, which can become cirrhosis14)Alcoholic fructose, liver and fatty liver disease..
These 6 symptoms are a non-exhaustive list of the risks you take if you eat excess sugar in the long term.
The sugar-free diet will allow you to limit the risk of developing these diseases.
To carry out this diet, it is important to know foods to avoid in the sugar-free diet, and know how to replace them with more natural foods that will not be detrimental to health.
Foods you must avoid for a sugar-free diet and their options
I present below a non-exhaustive list of foods you can avoid for yours sugar-free diet.
As you will see, it will seem normal to find certain foods on this list … but other foods will probably surprise you!
Reminder: The sugar-free diet consists of eliminating foods and beverages that contain free sugar added by the producers, as well as the sugar that is natural in fruit juices, syrups or honey.
The most important foods to avoid for a sugar-free diet are:
- Industry Korn.
Most industrial grains contain 30 to 40% sugar. A 50g bowl is like eating 4 squares of sugar …
Swap: Go for oatmeal! Very little sugar (less than 1%) and rich in fiber.
- Fruit juice.
With or without added sugar, fruit juices are very rich in sugar and no longer contain the fibers, vitamins and minerals that are present throughout the fruit …
Switch: Replace your fruit juice with green tea and eat the whole fruit to take advantage of all the micronutrients.
The jam contains 40% to 60% sugar, and no more vitamins or minerals present in the base of the fruit.
Substitution: Choose peanut butter, rich in good fat and proteins.
The most famous of them (I will not mention the name …) contains 56% sugar …
Do you spread it on white bread in the morning with a glass of orange juice? Congratulations, you've already exceeded your daily sugar quota!
Switch: Replace your spread with peanut butter, without abusing it of course.
- Chocolate Drink.
Whether powdered or already cooked, chocolate drinks are very rich in sugar …
Substitution: Mix lean cocoa (bitter cocoa) in a glass of skimmed milk to be consumed in moderation.
A large part of the barley grain contains 25 to 35% sugar! For example, Nestlé Chocapic bars contain 7g of sugar per 25g of bar.
Substitution: Choose food bars from Foodspring for example, which only contain 3.5% sugar (0.8 g in 25 g).
100g of white bread will give you about 5g of sugar, has a high glycemic index and very low fiber.
Substitution: Choose protein bread from Foodspring! 2 slices will give you just 0.7g of sugar, a good dose of protein and 5g of fiber!
- Industry Sauces.
A tomato basil bought in a jar, for example, will give you between 5g and 7g added sugar per 100g.
Substitution: Just make a homemade sauce: 1 tomato, a few chopped onions, a thread of olive oil (one of the best oils for cooking) and fresh basil! It only takes a few minutes …
- Cakes, sweets, desserts …
All of these products are well understood to banish from your diet for a sugar free diet.
Substitution: If you can't make it without dessert, you can discover the protein desserts from MyProtein.
A large portion of yogurt is very rich in sugar. Also beware of 0% fat yogurt …
Substitution: Choose white cheese 0% fat, with no added sugar. Rich in casein for long-term protein intake.
- Ice cream.
Do you love to enjoy a good ice cream when it's hot (and also when it's cold …)? Unfortunately, you should know that an ice cream contains 20% to 30% sugar.
A single ice cream cone will therefore make you consume around 15 g of sugar …
Substitution: If you can't do without ice, you can discover the protein ice cream from Foodspring. They contain 8 times less sugar than conventional ice creams.
- Change of lean meal.
A good portion of the meal replacements calculated for weight loss are often very rich in sugar. For example, the Herbalife Forumla 1 product contains 32% of added sugar (in the form of fructose). The complete range of Juice Plus + contains 40% sugar, and each meal replacement gives you 27g of sugar, more than the recommended daily limit …
Substitution: Prohibit these meal replacements and learn how to make healthy and balanced meals.
This is a non-exhaustive list. Remember that more than 80% of industrial products contain added sugar.
Some tips for a successful sugar-free diet
If your diet consists mainly of processed foods, you are likely to greatly exceed the 25 grams of sugar recommended per day.
Here are my 3 tips for a successful sugar-free diet:
- Start with ban all processed products, and favors fresh and whole products: vegetables, fruits (moderately), rice, sweet potatoes, meat, fish, eggs, water.
- Be careful, this sugar-free diet Will not be easy if you are used to consuming a lot of sugar every day.
In fact, a regular consumption of sugar in you creates a strong addiction15)Sugar Addiction., just like alcohol, tobacco or most drugs.
If you are really "addicted", you can start by lowering your daily sugar levels in steps until you are under 25 grams per day.
- Plan ahead. If you are not planning a snack for example, there is a good chance that you are in front of the vending machine filled with sweets …
An example of a snack to easily take away: An apple and a handful of almonds for example!
Example of a whole day without sugar
You have now understood the principle of sugar-free diet.
To make it clearer to you, I offer one full-day menu for a sugar-free diet :
150ml unsweetened almond milk
10g white chia seeds
One teaspoon of peanut butter
0% plain yogurt (without added sugar)
100g grilled chicken
200g grilled zucchini
A tablespoon of olive oil
- Afternoon snack
A handful of almonds
A whey protein or vegetable protein shaker (optional, depending on your sports dose)
200g of fish of your choice
60g basmati rice
Steamed 200g of green vegetables of your choice
A tablespoon of linseed oil
Go to my category healthy recipes to find other sugar-free recipes.
You will understand, it is very difficult today to make one sugar-free diet, since it is found in a large proportion of products found in supermarkets.
In addition, the somewhat vague labeling from manufacturers does not always allow the average consumer to discover the products richest in sugar.
However, the benefits of the sugar-free diet are many:
- Weight loss (obviously associated with a balanced diet)
- More energy
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- Less risk of cancer
- Less risk of type 2 diabetes
To Succeed in your sugar-free diet And finally, free yourself from this addiction, start by choosing your products correctly, making sure to read the nutrition labels, as well as the composition of the product.
If you discover in a composition a form of added sugar (glucose, fructose, maltodextrin …), do not buy this product and find a healthier substitution.
It is also important to remember that you should not go overboard when you want to remove every gram of sugar.
However, staying below 25 grams of added sugar per day will keep you away from most diseases associated with high sugar consumption such as type 2 diabetes.
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